Joe Miller isn't very sympathetic to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the reigning queen of the state's political dynasty he defeated in the recent Republican senatorial primary. In fact, he thinks she's abusing her donors by shrugging off her defeat to mount a write-in campaign that political analysts believe will end up helping the Democratic candidate.
"Disappointment I think is the best encapsulation of it," he told Whispers.
We ran into Miller, a West Point and Yale Law graduate, at a fund raiser this week just as the group Let Freedom Ring started running a satirical ad, "It's Not Your Seat Lisa," on 12 Alaska stations making fun of "Princess Lisa" and her fight to keep it.
"It's disappointing in that ultimately it hurts Alaska, it hurts the transition," said Miller. Then he questioned her financing of the write-in effort. "Certainly the way that she's using her money is not how her contributors expected her to use that money. She's playing a muddy game, one that's not based on the issues," he adds.
But ironically, says Miller, there are benefits to Murkowski's write-in: the national political establishment and press is paying attention; donors are sending him money and volunteers are swelling his town halls. "It has invigorated the volunteer base. They are very energized by Senator Murkowski breaking her word," he said.
Part of the credit for Miller's victory goes to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who Miller called a giant in the Tea Party movement. "I think Sarah Palin is critically important to the movement," he said. "I think she's been a very effective leader of the movement that is, I think, going to bring about real limits on the federal government."
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Updated 10/1/2010: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the group running a satirical anti-Murkowski ad. It is called Let Freedom Ring.